Dayton boys hoops reaches finals
DAYTON – Two spurts that spanned less than five minutes at the end of the first and third quarters told the story for the Dayton High boys basketball team in the Sutro Classic on Friday night.
The Dust Devils scored 13 unanswered points at the end of the first quarter to take a lead they never relinquished and then they scored 14 unanswered points at the end of the third quarter to slam the door shut en route to a 68-54 semifinal victory against Damonte Ranch.
Dayton (2-0) advanced to the tournament finals and a rematch against Sparks at 3 p.m. today.
“Sparks beat us in overtime last year, so we’re looking forward to this,” Dayton coach Rob Streeter said.
Adam Diament scored a game-high 26 points, 17 of which came in the third quarter, and Ryan Blaver added 22, including 14 in the first period, to lead Dayton past Damonte Ranch.
Perhaps the best news for the Dust Devils was that they won without the services of senior point Matt Bowman, who missed the game with a dislocated finger he sustained in Dayton’s 67-27 win over Silver Stage on Thursday night.
“Matt is our leader, our spark plug, so it was good to see some kids step up tonight,” Streeter said. “It wasn’t pretty, but we got it done.”
The Dust Devils looked downright unbeatable during a span of one minute, seven seconds when they turned a 10-9 deficit into a 22-10 lead at the end of the first quarter.
It all started when Blaver pulled down a rebound on the defensive end and went coast-to-coast for a breakaway layup to give Dayton an 11-10 lead with 1:46 showing on the clock. After Damonte Ranch turned the ball over moments later, freshman Travis Wood fed a pass to Blaver for a 3-pointer from the top of the key – a shot that caromed up off the rim and came back down through the net.
Next, Wood grabbed a defensive rebound, started a fast break and dished to Josh Aaker for a layup. Aaker was fouled and sank his free throw to complete the three-point play. Daniel Green, who replaced Bowman at point guard, came up with a steal and fed Blaver for another 3-pointer. Green stole the ball to trigger another fast break that ended with a Blaver jumper from inside the key and gave the Dust Devils a 22-10 lead with 37.9 seconds left in the first period.
“We’re under sized, so we have to use our pressure,” Streeter said. “We were executing our rotations during our runs. That was being focused and sticking to our game plan. But then we began to show our youth. We lost our focus and things began to unravel.”
Damonte Ranch battled back and cut the deficit to 32-28 at halftime. The Mustangs were only down 42-39 after Brit Burns hit a 3-pointer with 3:10 left in the third period.
Then the Dust Devils went back to work.
Diament drove for a layup moments later to ignite Dayton’s 14-0 run. Trent Wood buried a 3-pointer from the left side, assisted by Aaker, then Diament completed a three-point play to extend the lead to 50-39 with 2:12 left. Green sank a pair of free throws and fed an assist to Diament for a fast break layup. Diament capped off the run when he drove for a layup to give Dayton a 56-39 lead as time expired in the period.
R.C. Remington came off the bench to score seven points and spark the Dust Devils at both ends of the court, according to Streeter.
Damonte Ranch, a first-year Northern 4A school in South Reno, was led by 6-foot-6 junior Josh Gill with 20 points.
“Dayton is a good team, and the thing I liked tonight was the way our guys crawled back and closed the gap a couple of times. They couldn’t quite get over the hump, but they never gave up,” coach Torry Sheets said. “This is a good group that plays hard, and that’s all we can ask.”
In other games on Friday, Nick Traversie scored 27 points for Sparks in its 48-39 semifinal win over Incline. Also, Dan and Chris Shapiro combined to score 39 points in Whittell’s 62-48 win over a Silver Stage team that was led by Mike Shinn’s 19 points. Kevin Dalton scored 32 points for Bishop (Calif.) in its 77-69 triumph against Lone Pine.
Lone Pine plays Silver Stage in the tournament’s seventh-place game at 11 a.m., Whittell faces Bishop in the consolation finals at 12:30 and Incline plays Damonte Ranch in the third-place game at 2.